Old Montréal's best hotels, according to the experts

These 13 hotels channel the old city's elegance, vibrancy, and historic charm, winning praise from the experts.

Old Montréal, the city's historic heart, boasts some of the best hotels in Montréal. Some capitalize on the ornate architecture dating back centuries, while others pursue a distinctly modern, design-foward feels. Still others combine old façades with minimalists room concepts. In short, there's something for everyone all in this one quarter of town, once hemmed in by imposing city walls. In the neighborhood (and often inside) these Experts' Choice picks, you'll also find great food and vibrant nightlife.

This four-star hotel, named for celebrated poet Émile Nelligan, is situated on the historic rue Saint-Paul, not far from the Vieux-Port, Place Royale, and the Pointe-à-Caillière Museum.  Dark woods, duvets, fireplaces, stone and leather lend romance where other boutique hotels aim for minimalist design.  Fodor's likes its Méchant Bœuf Bar-Brasserie where you can "watch the world hustle by" on rue Saint-Paul from a table by the window.

This converted 19th-century warehouse hides a minimalist paradise sure to thrill design enthuastiasts.  Each of its 30 spacious loft-like rooms is unique while all hew to an industrial-chic sensibility.  

Hôtel Le St-James welcomes guests into pure opulence in a converted 19th-century bank. Tasteful antiques pieces, marble columns, and French tapestries give the hotel an Old World feel while its reptutation for service attracts rockstars and world leaders.  It's well located: excellent restaurants, world-class museums, and great nightlife are a short walk away.

In the shadow of Notre-Dame Basilica, this modern (but still homey) boutique hotel is chock full of suites, some with fully equipped kitchens.  Le Saint-Sulpice sits on a quiet street, but one a short walk away from cafés, shops, the métro, the Saint Lawrence River, and other sights.  Though there's no gym on-site, guests have access to one on Place d'Armes.  

Perhaps the liveliest location on the list, the W is housed in a 1950s bank building. Everything from the three vibrant bars to the 152 sleek, open-plan rooms bear the brand's hallmark avant-garde design. Every room has premium features like the rainforest shower, but supersuites like the Extreme Wow offer 1,000 square feet of space and a private outdoor terrace with views over Victoria Square Park. Multiple guides gently recommend that those seeking sleep seek a room on one of the higher floors to avoid the din of merrymakers down below.  

A converted trio of 1800s office buildings houses this elegant 133-room boutique hotel. The interiors blend historic elements faithful to the past of the structure and its neighborhood together with contemporary design details to great effect. The Place d'Armes Hotel also boasts a cozy spa, two restaurants, a rooftop bar, and a top-notch Clefs d'Or concierge.  

Beaux-Arts on the outside, minimalist and modern on the inside, the St Paul combines styles much as it marries elegance with comfort. Light and dark are juxtaposed throughout — alabaster walls and white linens are dramatic against dark wood floors.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith recommends the Black Suite on the penthouse level with its "floor-to-ceiling muslin curtains" that "lend a dreaminess to the atmosphere around the bed, and tall, white, folding shutters let in plenty of light to counterbalance the charcoal tones of the walls and floors."

LHotel feels as much like a modern art gallery as a boutique hotel, a major draw for many guests.  The converted 1870s bank building houses 59 guestrooms with soaring ceilings and whimsical design touches to an otherwise traditional style.  It's well located — at the heart of Old Montréal, you're in walking distants of the areas best attractions, shops, and restaurants.  

Le Petit Hôtel is, true to its name, petit, with 24 remarkable rooms inside a converted19th-century building formerly home to a leather merchant. This remarkably tasteful hipster haven caters to a younger crowd with its docks and ports, Wiis and good WiFi as well as the full bar in the lobby café.  Situated near the Vieux-Port, it's a great jumping off point for exploring nearby galleries, cafés, and historical sites.

Formerly a judge's private residence, the five-story edifice that houses this stately 30-room boutique hotel was constructed in the 1880s. Solid oak, wrought iron, and original stone are sure to please guests looking for fans of tradition. The Auberge Bonparte is steps away from the Notre Dame Basilica — some rooms even have views of the basilica's private gardens.  The bigger rooms with dormer windows and high ceilings offer a grander experience, while some of the smaller rooms are more shabby-chic and have less light. 

The Épik, thoughtfully converted from a cozy auberge into a sleek boutique, couldn't be any more central. The building itself was, way back in the 18th century, a fur warehouse, hints of which can be seen in guestrooms: original beams with carpenters' marks, exposed stone and mortar. Its 9 rooms all have rain showers, Tempur-Pedic mattresses, and flat-screen TVs. An in-house restaurant serves Mediterranean food.

Compared with most of the others on the list, the Westin is a massive property.  Its 455 rooms occupy the former offices of the Montréal Gazette. More streamlined and less quirky than Montréals boutique hotels, the Westin offers a predictable and consistent standard of quality to business travelers and tourists, but with fun touches like the glass-bottomed indoor pool over the lobby.  Its in-house restaurant, gaZette, serves farm-to-table food made from local ingredients.

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